VANCOUVER — With a price tag of $1.9 million, Vancouver real estate is the most expensive in Canada and is the subject of a popular online ad campaign by a group of renters who want to sell their homes.
But a lot of people, especially people who have no intention of moving, don’t want to make the leap.
“I just don’t think it’s worth it for most people,” said Sarah Broughton, an avid renter who is renting an apartment in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of West Vancouver.
“It’s a little bit of a trap.
There’s a lot more risk involved than if you rent an ordinary one.
I think the real problem is the lack of options.”
A survey by Realtor.com found that more than half of renters surveyed said they’re looking for a bigger, more permanent place to live.
The survey also found that a majority of renters want to live in their own home, but they can’t find a home in Vancouver because of the housing shortage.
Realtors say the rental market in Vancouver is so hard to find that the average rent for a three-bedroom home in the city is $1,700 a month, while in Toronto the average is $3,000.
The average price of a detached home in Victoria, B.C., is $2,800 a month.
That’s about half the average price in Vancouver, where the average rental is $4,000 a month according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Some of the people in Vancouver are trying to sell because they are having trouble finding a rental, said Chris McKeown, vice-president of rental services at Real Property Advisors.
“Some of the properties are selling because they’re going up in price, but a lot are selling as a result of other factors, such as high demand for homes and people not buying at all,” he said.
Real Estate Canada data shows Vancouver has the second-highest vacancy rate in Canada, behind Toronto.
Broughston said that’s because of high vacancies in Vancouver’s rental market.
“People aren’t looking to buy in Vancouver,” she said.
“There’s just so many vacant properties and no people in there.
People are selling for $300,000.”
Vancouver has more empty homes than any other Canadian city.
The vacancy rate for detached homes is higher in Vancouver than in any other city in Canada.
“We have an incredible housing shortage in Vancouver and we are seeing that in the market,” said Real Property Advisor vice-founder Stephen Hensley.
“Vancouver is in a housing bubble, but we’re seeing a lot in terms of demand for properties that don’t exist.”
The number of vacant homes in Vancouver has surpassed the number of houses that have been sold for $1 million or more, according to Real Property Assessors data.
Vancouver has one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada of about 8.3 per cent, which is the lowest rate in the country.
Vancouver’s vacancy rate is similar to the national average.
But that’s not the only reason people are moving to the city.
Vancouver is also seeing a boom in young professionals who want their first homes in Canada to be in the suburbs, where they can afford the monthly rent.
“A lot of millennials are going to the suburbs and wanting to live closer to family, so that’s the big thing that we’ve seen,” said Realturist Mike Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh said he can’t sell his condo for less than $2 million, and it’s a good buy.
He said people are buying condos at rates that would make him nervous about the rental housing market in the future.
But, he said, he would still consider it if he found a new home in B. C. “If I was to sell my condo right now, I would definitely want to buy my own house because I’m not buying it for the cash price,” he explained.
“But I would not consider it until I see what’s going on in the rental markets in other cities.”
Sources: Real PropertyAssists, Realtore.com, CBC News